The Yellow Man's Burden
Dec 30, 2013 - Warthogs for the Marines?
Many years ago, I suggested that the Marines acquire and upgrade dozens of stored A-10s that the USAF retired early. As the F-35 fiasco worsens, "Aviation Week's" fighter plane guru Bill Sweetman just wrote an article suggesting that the Air Force transfer 200 of its newly upgraded A-10Cs (that it now plans to retire) to the Marine Corps. I'd guess that 90% of Marines agree, but military contractors decide such things for the Marine Corps nowadays.
Sweetman also discusses the value of UAVs for combat. I addressed that in a chapter in my book: Fighter UAVs. I see no need for great stealth given that costs soar and performance suffers. You want cheap drones acting as bigger aircraft, like the USAF used in the first Gulf War in a program called "Big Safari." Iraqi air defenses revealed their locations and wasted missiles as they engaged these decoys.
Dec 23, 2013 - Safe Deposit Boxes at Airports?
A big craze at international airports in Europe are safe deposit boxes in their terminal. Smuggling cash, gold and jewelry out of nations is simple. The danger is taking it through customs, then through a big city to a bank. Another problem is that banks have proper identification and tax reporting requirements to governments.
The solution are safety deposit boxes at international airport terminals, which grew out of the international transit storage businesses. Some air freight arriving at airports is in transit and needs to be held somewhere for a few hours or days until loaded on a connecting flight. These companies spun off highly secure vaults where things are "temporarily" stored indefinitely. Since they are not banks, there are no customer identification or reporting requirements, and incoming goods do not pass through customs.
This is perfect for those who need to hide physical wealth. Customers don't even have to formally enter a nation through immigration to use their box, and some are large enough to store artwork. They just line up a connecting flight to drop off or pick up valuable stuff. This is very popular with criminals and tax evaders, but so far governments have ignored this lucrative business. This is great for drug dealers. Mules can drop off pounds of coke in a safe box and then fly back to Colombia with cash and avoid the shake down at customs. Another mule arriving from a secure nation like Ireland can replenish the cash, pick up the coke, and get waived through customs.
Dec 22, 2013 - Obama Endorses Child Smuggling
As I've written many times, the main objective of our corporate masters is pushing through a second amnesty for illegal aliens before Obama leaves office. Strong public opposition has delayed this goal, and President Obama has abused his executive power to halt most deportations and to issue social security numbers to a few million illegal foreigners already. Our corporate media plays along, and refuses to criticize his dictates.
Fox News is an exception, probably because 99% of its viewers oppose another amnesty. It reported this outrageous story of our federal government employees complaining that they are ordered to help smuggle illegal children into the USA. When ICE intercepts smugglers with children, they attempt to locate their parents. Sometimes these parents are in the USA illegally, and have paid smugglers to bring their children across. The solution is to arrest their illegal parents and reunite them with their children as the family is deported (aka returned home.)
Obama ordered ICE to finish the illegal smuggling at government expense and bring the children to their parents in the USA. And since they are now children in the USA through no fault of their own, they get instant permanent green cards as part of Obama's DREAM decree, then the parents cannot be deported because of his decree to prevent family separations. And since the children now have social security numbers, they can collect welfare benefits, go to public schools, get free medical care though Medicaid, while their parents can collect thousands of dollars from the IRS for Earned Income and Child Tax credits, which are really payments. As word spreads in the illegal immigrant community, millions of children are heading for the border.
All Americans would find this story interesting, and most would be outraged. Unfortunately, few know about it because our corporate media has refused to report it. This isn't a wild internet rumor, it was denounced by a federal judge and a federal employees union whose members are furious. Share this story with the millions of Americans who just lost unemployment benefits and are desperate for work.
Dec 21, 2013 - I have Royal Blood
There is so much free genealogy on-line nowadays that most people can find a distant relative's on-line family tree to learn about generations of ancestors. Just do a search for your grandparent's name in quotes, and include their year of birth, and something should show up.
I am a descendant of King Edward IV, as are thousands of others. Most royal men of England had a mistress or more, resulting in bastard children, from which my connection lies. There were so many that books have been published about all these "Royal Bastards" and descendants have formed royal bastard societies in England.
Dec 16, 2013 - Wartime Spending Locked In
The Pentagon war machine ensured the latest budget deal. After alarm raised about "drastic" cuts (back to FY2007 levels), the Pentagon has been assured wartime levels of spending will continue at higher levels than during the Korean, Vietnam, and the entire Cold war. Note that the figures below have been adjusted for annual inflation:
But a new war may be on the horizon. The USA has increased its troop level in Jordan to 1500, so an invasion of Syria may still be planned. Otherwise, Jordan will now host permanent bases for the empire.
Dec 15, 2013 - Obamacare Logic
The big flaw in the logic behind Obamacare is an assumption that most healthy, uninsured, middle-class Americans want to devote 20-30% of their income to health insurance. Healthy middle class Americans want health insurance, but the cost is far too high. Since they do not qualify of federal subsidies, they will not sign up, even if rates are slightly lower than before because of the insurance exchanges. Others will refuse simply because they hate Obama. They will just pay the small additional income tax, and hate Obama more.
As a result, the people signing up for Obamacare exchanges are the lower middle class (who are eligible for large subsidies) and the sickly. Their costs will not be offset by premiums from millions of healthy Americans so Obamacare will cost taxpayers billions of dollars more each year than projected, money that flows into the pockets of America's corporate insurance companies, who wrote the Obamacare legislation.
Dec 9, 2013 - ET is Anti-War
I just watched another excellent UFO documentary "Out of the Blue", which you can watch on youtube. As I've mentioned before, I am convinced that nuclear war has been prevented by aliens, resulting in the worldwide nuclear test ban and the end of the Cold War.
Dec 8, 2013 - UDP to Europe
For the past two decades, I have written that the Marine Corps must stop sending all its UDP forward-deployed infantry battalions to Okinawa, where they are not wanted or needed. The Marines may have decided this without my input, but the recent plan to deploy a UDP battalion to Europe fits the recommendation in my 2012 article "The Okinawa Solution."
Dec 7, 2013 - Remember Admiral Richardson!
Admiral James O. Richardson was commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet in 1940. President Roosevelt ordered the fleet to sail from its homeport of San Diego to Pearl Harbor as a show of force. After several months, Admiral Richardson began to demand a return to San Diego because his fleet suffered from supply problems, the sailors missed their families, and the fleet was vulnerable to a surprise attack in Hawaii. His strong words about these issues caused President Roosevelt to relieve him of command in February 1941.
Dec 2, 2013 - Just Wear Different T-shirts
Congress is forcing our military to wear the same camouflage pattern uniform, again. This became standard twenty years ago to prevent friendly fire and simplify logistics. Somehow, low intensity occupation duties allowed this problem to arise as bureaucracies produced all sorts of patterns. The simple solution for units that want to be unique is to adopt a different color t-shirt, or even one with stripes, like Russian sailors. (pictured)
Nov 30, 2013 - Diaoyu/Senkaku Warmongering.
I didn't understand the conflict over a few tiny, uninhabited islands near Taiwan. Our war machine aligned with our corporate media to publish hundreds of stories over the past two years about aggressive Chinese claims to these Japanese islands. Then I read this letter in the "Economist" last February:
SIR – Your leader about the dispute between China and Japan over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands presented China as the aggressor in the East China Sea and Japan as the victim (“Dangerous shoals”, January 19th). A different story can be told if you go further back. China has claimed the islands for centuries and always treated Japan’s annexation of them in 1895 as illegal.
The Potsdam Declaration of 1945, which set out the Allied Powers’ terms for Japan’s surrender, deprived Japan of all its overseas territories, including the islands. But the Treaty of San Francisco in 1951, signed by Japan, actually broke those conditions by restoring the islands to Japanese control (but leaving open the issue of sovereignty).
Moreover, the Chinese government, by then controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, was excluded from the conference that produced the treaty. For both those reasons the Chinese government regards the handing back of the islands to Japanese control as illegitimate.
Until 2010 the two governments left the settlement of their claims undefined. This was the agreement that came out of the diplomatic recognition and friendship talks between the government of Japan and Zhou Enlai in 1972 and Deng Xiaoping in 1978. Deng famously suggested that contentious issues like Senkaku should be “left to the wiser heads of later generations”. In practice, Japan accepted the islands’ limbo state, exercising only “practical control” by shooing away non-Japanese fishing boats.
The current dispute began in 2010 when the Japanese arrested a Chinese fishing boat in defiance of an agreement not to apply domestic laws to trespassing fishermen and proposed to put the captain on trial. This provoked an unexpectedly furious Chinese reaction, which stiffened the Japanese government’s determination not to appear weak in its dealings with China.
China’s “aggression” towards Japan has to be understood in this context. In a civilised world both sides would bring the case to the International Court of Justice.
Professor Robert Wade
According to the Potsdam Accords, Okinawa should not have been given back to Japan in 1972, since the Japanese empire invaded that island chain in 1872. Note that Taiwan was also a Japanese colony, and was freed after World War II. Taiwan also claims these islands near its coast, and a long way from mainland Japan.
If you read more about this issue, it remained in limbo until 2010 when Japan began to exert sovereignty over these distant islands, challenging Taiwanese and Chinese fisherman in the area and claiming the airspace. China refused to accept this illegal and provocative behavior, and countered this squatter's rights move by declaring the air space as well. This only means that China (like Japan) demands permission to fly through this zone (far from Japan) and reserves the right to intercept non-complying aircraft and shoot down hostile intruders.
This is an old, petty squabble between Japan and our World War II ally China. It is not a sign of an aggressive Chinese military and no excuse to maintain wartime levels of spending that are helping bankrupt our nation. It explains why the Pentagon immediately flew two B-52 bombers through the zone and publicly backed Japan's claim, while demonstrating its control over our corporate media, which failed to report these facts.
I suggest an obvious compromise. Japan should offer to transfer these big rocks to Taiwan if China drops its claim. Taiwan is the nearest nation, and this should have happened when it became independent after World War II. China's reaction would be interesting, but this would diffuse the issue and improve relations with Taiwan.
Nov 24, 2013 - Walmart Should Lead
Walmart has always been an upstart outsider corporation, run by yokels from Oklahoma, and hated by the elite corporate press. It is attacked for providing substandard health insurance, even though many other corporations provide none. Walmart is attacked for its low wages, even though other profitable corporations pay less, like the fast food giants. The average retail floor worker at Walmart makes $11.75 an hour, which is around 12% less than the average retail worker, but higher than most people think.
I agree with this 2011 study that Walmart could become more profitable by establishing a higher minimum wage for its employees. It would be a great public relations boost and turn attention to other major corporations who refuse to match Walmart's wage challenge. A starting salary boost to $10 an hour would affect 25% its workers and match President Obama's recent support for a $10 an hour minimum wage. California has already legislated this for 2016 and Congress will follow at some point in the future since the current rate has not been raised in over four years. Moreover, a higher wage would boost morale, productivity, and reduce turnover since losing a Walmart job might mean $7.25 an hour elsewhere. In addition, workers would spend much of their extra income at Walmart.
Personally, I support a $12 an hour minimum wage to encourage work over welfare, and restore it to a 1960s level that have been eroded by inflation. Corporate crackpots claim this will reduce employment, as though they have lots of idle minimum wage workers loitering around that they would have to lay off. Others claim that low-skill workers don't deserve more, as though hard labor itself is not deserving of a decent wage. In many areas of the USA, full-time minimum wage workers don't even earn enough to pay the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment. This wage increase might cause a tiny rise in inflation as business adjusts, but deflation due to slack consumer demand is a problem today. Finally, a higher minimum wage means more tax revenue from salaries and sales taxes via increased spending, and fewer people qualified for welfare programs.
I think Walmart is getting a bad rap as the low wage villain while MacDonalds, Target, and big farmers pay less. Walmart can boost its image, increase productivity and sales by doing the right thing and boosting its minimum wage to $10 an hour. Walmart as a symbol for corporate greed and low wages would disappear and leave its critics speechless. As I noted, the minimum wage will rise to $10 an hour one day, so Walmart should leap ahead of politics while demonstrating concern for its workers.
Nov 23, 2013 - Republicans for Open Borders
Republican members of Congress are in a bind. Their financial backers are pressing them to support a second amnesty for illegal aliens. This is opposed by a majority of Americans, and a vast majority of Republican party voters, despite bogus polls that use trick questions. America's billionaires are pushing this issue because flooding the nation with more desperate workers results in lower wages and more consumers for their stuff.
A semi-secret component of this proposed "reform" are millions more legal work visas, allowing corporations to replace more American workers with much cheaper imports. The other component is a second amnesty for illegals that is sure to drive down wages further, drive up unemployment, and encourage millions more illegal crossings, which is why it is supported by America's corporate leaders and their lackeys in both political parties. The big spin to sell legislation as a lengthy and expensive "path to citizenship." But citizenship only allows one to vote, get a federal job, and be called to jury duty.
A social security card is the ticket to legal jobs and welfare benefits. Amnesty would provide them instantly, and overwhelm all government agencies with applications for welfare assistance. Even if working, millions of newly legalized foreign workers would instantly qualify for food stamps and "earned income" payments from the IRS, which would cost billions of dollars a year. Then billions more must be spent to support the millions of citizens displaced by these foreigners in the workforce, and to deal with the millions more illegals who are sure to follow. Since the remnants of our democracy have thwarted this plan, President Obama is considering another dictatorial edict called an "executive order" to please his corporate sponsors, as he already has done to halt most deportations.
Nov 22, 2013 - SNAFU
I stumbled upon this excellent military blog, which I highly recommend for those interested in Marine Corps issues. For those few interested in cutting overhead in the Marine Corps logistics arena, here are my thoughts: Marine Corps Integrated Logistics Groups.
Nov 17, 2013 - How the Feds Can Save Billions
The GI bill was designed to help young servicemen obtain skills after their military service obligation, and evolved into a recruiting tool for the all-volunteer military. Since our nation will soon be bankrupt, common sense is required. The idea of passing along educational benefits to a spouse or child began as a select reenlistment carrot a few years ago and exploded into a billion dollar entitlement for all GIs with little cost concern.
Generals love the idea because it is not funded by the Pentagon, but paid for by the VA many years later. This boondoggle should end immediately. The justification is absurd, that some GIs may never use their GI Bill benefit, but this is because the U.S. military provided them with skills and a military career! This is popular with wealthy retired officers since they don't need the benefit. However, this costs billions of dollars and upsets young former combat soldiers attending college when they encounter military "brats" with their same hard-earned GI Bill benefit. Moreover, high military pay and the poor economy means our military has no problem with reenlistments nowadays, it's shoving career hopeful GIs out the door!
Other restrictions should be considered. Should we limit GI educational benefits to enlisted men? Officers have already been to college and were paid much more on active duty. Why should taxpayers pay for their masters degree? Or maybe deny educational benefits to retirees, since they already get a monthly check. Many have no plans to start working yet take classes just to pocket extra money. Saving money is never popular, but the GI bill was created to help young GIs learn skills for good jobs after their first enlistment. These options may seem harsh, but note that there is no GI Bill for veterans who served between 1976-1985, only $2700 in matching VEAP educational assistance.
Nov 16, 2013 - Yes We Can, Build an Excellent Ship
Our Navy's attempt to build a coastal ship failed before construction began. I wrote an article about the proposed "LCS" back in 2008 that highlighted problems and the GAO produced several reports about this disaster.
I assumed the USA had become too corrupt to build a decent warship. However, I just learned that the USA is building an excellent coastal ship in Mississippi, for Egypt! As part of American military aid, the USA contracted to build four excellent Ambassador MK III ships (pictured). These 200 ft long craft are referred to as "missile boats" for political reasons. They are one-sixth the size of the LCS, cost half as much, are just as fast, and have twice the weaponry!
Since the Ambassador is much smaller, it is much more difficult to track and hit with weaponry, and has half the draft of the LCS, which is extremely important for a coastal craft. It does not carry two helicopters like the LCS, but those should operate far offshore, otherwise they help an enemy locate and target the ship. There have been no reported problems with the Ambassador since our Navy did not spend a billion dollars and a decade to "develop" it. Our foreign military sales office just chose a simple design using modern (proven) systems.
A dozen LCS have been funded thus far with four dozen more planned. Everyone is disappointed as they break down often and carry little weaponry. They don't even have basic Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and only a single 57mm deck gun, compared to the 76mm mounted on the Ambassador! Congress and the Navy would like to end LCS production, but our Navy would end up with few coastal craft since the frigates were retired early, assuming the big LCS counts as one since it is larger than WW II destroyers. The Ambassador class is under construction in the USA and provides a better ship at half the cost. Cancel the LCS program and buy four dozen Ambassadors!
Nov 15, 2013 - No Sequester in Europe
Generals say our Army is downsizing, too broke to train, and not ready for war. But dammit, that's no reason not to spend $100 million to start construction of a new elementary and new high school in Stuttgart, Germany. These are for school kids of our European Command soldiers, who have no purpose since the NATO command in Belgium is really in charge, and led by the same American four-star General.
Nov 11, 2013 - Happy Veterans Day?
As I've often noted, most Veterans dislike this day because they have to work while millions of non-vets get the day off with pay. To cheer them up, I suggest they watch this short Saturday Night Live skit.
Nov 10, 2013 - Command Chief Warrant Officers?
In my May 20, 2013 blog, I explained why Command Sergeants Major are unneeded. While researching Army units, I was shocked that "Command Chief Warrant Officers" have begun to appear everywhere. This is bureaucratic BS!
Nov 9, 2013 - Where to cut 100,000 non-combat soldier slots
If you follow military affairs, you know the Pentagon is telling everyone that minor budget cuts (back to FY2007 funding levels) are destroying our military. Never mind that our budget remains six times larger than any other nation and remains larger than the Cold War average, or that we face bankruptcy, or that there are no real threats to our national security. These facts don't matter to the Joint Chiefs who have gone on strike and refuse to adjust to a 7% budget cut.
To help civilian leaders lead our military, I wrote a summary of the U.S. Army's situation, along with a list of some 100,000 non-combat regular army slots than can be eliminated. I have limited data, so these are ballpark figures. I appreciate input with more accurate estimates or other ideas to cut Army fat. Here is the beginning of that article:
The U.S. Army has fallen into bureaucratic shock. Congress and the American people expect its Army to demobilize after the end of the Cold War, which was delayed by 23 years of Persian Gulf wars. Current Army Generals rose in a system of short-term assignments where selling budget growth and dodging long-term problems were keys to success. As a result, the Army has no plan to downsize from a post 9-11 wartime high of 570,000 to around 400,000 active duty personnel.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno is a great bureaucrat. As Army manpower shrinks, he plays a shell game to retain far more active duty units than needed, and then claims the nation is in danger since units are undermanned. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel recently ordered a 20% reduction in bloated headquarters. At a recent conference, Odiero's strategy was revealed:
"The chief and I felt very strongly that headquarters reduction was a place that we could just do things more smartly and do it with fewer people," he said. Ray Odierno said the potential cuts could be in the thousands, and the plan might be implemented somewhere around 2015 and beyond."
That's his plan, do nothing! Just agree that it might be a good idea and stall. General Odierno's official plan to cut the Army's wartime force structure is grossly insufficient. In June 2013, he announced the Army will cut 10 brigade combat teams and reorganize the rest, which implies a serious cut. But details show that only 10 brigade headquarters will be eliminated, while their subordinate units will be reassigned to increase the combat power of the remaining 33 brigades. Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. John Campbell noted the cuts will result in the loss of only 17,700 positions. The recent inactivation of the two brigades and several smaller enabler units in Europe represent a reduction of another 11,700 slots.
General Campbell added: "The BCT [brigade] reduction is just one small part” of the 80,000-troop reduction in end strength. The 11,700 cut from Europe (ordered by the Bush administration way back in 2005) and 17,700 from 10 brigade headquarters total only 29,400 soldier slots out of 80,000 needed just to reach a goal of 490,000 regular soldiers by 2015. Where is the plan to cut another 50,000 soldiers by 2015, and another 90,000 by 2018? Unless the Army slashes unneeded headquarters overhead and excess support elements that now require 400,000 active duty soldiers, it will have eliminate all of its combat brigades!
Read the full article here: Save Our Army from Generals
Nov 3, 2013 - The American Gestapo
While the USA drifts into a police state, one reads stories like: Armed Agents Seize Records of Reporter. A reporter from a major newspaper wrote an article critical of the Department of Homeland Security. A few days later, they raided her home and seized her papers. You might think that political leaders and other newspapers would express outrage, but the sheep simply scattered, and remember to be careful of what they write.
Nov 2, 2013 - Snowden's Secrets?
Our political leaders and corporate media act surprised that the NSA spies on everyone, to include allies. The only exception is a post-World War II gentleman's agreement among the major "white" English speaking nations: the USA, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. All of this was detailed two decades ago by James Bamford in his book "Body of Secrets." A few years ago, I read that book and had time to read many more. Brief book reviews of mine remain on-line.
Nov 1, 2013 - The End of High School Football?
When I was in high school there was a smoking area for students! That seems unbelievable today, but two decades from now people will be shocked that minors were allowed to play dangerous contact football, or as rugby players call it "collision football." Dangerous? This recent PBS Frontline televised report should convince you, and read this common news story about football injuries.
As one who played high school football, I now consider it a form of child abuse. If you disagree, you have yet to watch that Frontline report. Adults can risk their lives in dangerous activities, but high schoolers are children. Head impact injuries are much like the damage done from smoking tobacco; the effects do not show up until years later.
Oct 27, 2013 - TSA Headquarters Robbed
The Transportation Security Administration is responsible for protecting our airports from evil doers. They assumed that no one would rob a federal credit union at their headquarters building. These guys were not intimidated, and escaped!
Oct 26, 2013 - More Snowden Leaks
The latest release of Eric Snowden's powerpoint slides can be seen here. You don't read about them in your news or see them on television because our media is mostly controlled by our government, and their big internet advertisers don't want the public to know what they've been doing with our "personal" information.
While our media reports e-mail and internet traffic is intercepted, they don't explain how the system works. The NSA captures and stores everything in a massive database, and then uses a search engine to find items of interest. So if they take an interest in you in 2020, they can search your name and dig up everything you put through internet. You may think this is no big deal, but if a Congressman wants to cut the NSA budget, simply asks for details, or asks too many questions, "someone" might use his lifetime data trove for blackmail.
The other key point is that the NSA did not, and does not, intercept most of this data. It is provided directly by internet providers, who are paid for this help. They claim they were "forced" to provide access, whatever that means. This explains one advantage of offering free e-mail. If you don't pay for it, you can't argue that it's yours. The more e-mail traffic, the more they earn from the NSA.
Oct 25, 2013 - The Ox Kicks the Can Down the Road
Army General Ray Odiero is a great bureaucrat. As the Army downsizes, he is playing a shell game to keep more units than needed, and then claiming the nation is in danger since units are undermanned. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel demanded a 20% reduction in bloated headquarters. At a recent conference, Odiero's plan was revealed:
"The chief and I felt very strongly that headquarters reduction was a place that we could just do things more smartly and do it with fewer people," he said. Ray Odierno said the potential cuts could be in the thousands, and the plan might be implemented somewhere around 2015 and beyond."
That's his plan, do nothing! Just say it's a great idea and stall until retirement.
Oct 23, 2013 - The Objective of LIC
As the U.S. military withdraws from Afghanistan, it is destroying billions of dollars of usable equipment because it is too costly to ship home. This reminds me of a passage from the late Col. Fletcher Prouty USAF:
" ...we must understand that it has become the objective of 'low intensity conflict' to continue the wasting of money, the pointless killing of defenseless people, and the consumption or attrition of costly war materiel to make way for the procurement of more. 'Low-intensity conflict' is a way in which the hundreds of billions of dollars of armaments produced each year can be used, destroyed, and wasted this year in order that more may be procured and used next year."
Oct 20, 2013 - Manas Airbase to Close
The Pentagon has endorsed closing another base on my list of outdated overseas bases, Manas in Kyrgyzstan, mostly because that nation is uncooperative and the base unneeded. The closure was spun as "moving" the base because the Pentagon really wants a new airbase in Romania, which is a strategic location. It already opened this base in 2009 as a "training" facility, but has been building permanent structures.
This is not a bad idea so long as it remains an austere base like Moron in Spain. Generals love to grow bases into city-size resorts with swimming pools, a golf course, and shopping mall, and then bring families over along with schools to double operating costs. Civilian leaders must keep a close eye on proposed projects for this new base.
I am generally opposed to new military bases, but his one is in a strategic location, in a low labor cost NATO nation, and near the sea so that ship-based Navy and Marine aircraft can use it. It is far, far better than Spangdahlem in Germany, which should now close.
Oct 17, 2013 - The Game is Over
The budget battle is over for now. As Paul Craig Roberts predicted, it ended just before President Obama would have used his endless national emergency powers to raise the debt ceiling and pass the budget, thus castrating Congress. (see my Oct 4 blog).
This is a disaster for the Pentagon. Its "sequester" funding levels were set back in 2011, effectively freezing it at 2007 levels starting in FY2013, just like the rest of the federal government. This past year, the Pentagon pretended that law didn't exist and blamed Congress for its troubles as it cancelled training and deferred maintenance, thus pushing most of these costs into 2014.
We are now into FY2014 with much money already spent to cover shortfalls from FY2013. Manpower reductions continue at a slow pace (see my Aug 30 blog entry) while troops get another unneeded pay raise on Jan. 1st. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has been a huge disappointment, having done NOTHING during his first months in office.
What to do? 1) Cancel failed procurement programs, the GAO has a list; 2) Freeze military pay for two years; 3) Close outdated overseas bases and associated outdated commands; 4) Speed the drawdown by slashing new enlistments and second-term reenlistments, while freezing promotions for a year; 5) Address the "junior enlisted" problem by ending family housing benefits for new enlistees until they make E-4, and stretching out promotions so that NCOs are NCOs.
Oct 14, 2013 - Kerry Ready to Invade
Wow! I just blogged yesterday that plans to invade Syria may not be over, and today I read:
"U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the UN-Arab League envoy for Syria said Monday that an international conference to set up a Syrian transitional government must be organized urgently and held as soon as possible. 'There has to be a transition government, there has to be a new governing entity in Syria in order to permit the possibility of peace,' Kerry said.
....'We believe it is urgent to set a date, convene the conference and work towards a new Syria,' Kerry said. He said that Syrian President Bashar Assad 'has lost the legitimacy to be able to be a cohesive force that could bring people together.'"
So much for Syria's effort to cooperate and avoid a major war.
Oct 13, 2013 - Syrian Invasion on Hold?
Everyone assumes that war with Syria has been averted. However, removing WMDs before an invasion was the plan for Iraq. This is one reason why the USA didn't invade Iraq in 1990. If Iraq unleashed chemical weapons on advancing American forces and fired SCUD missiles with chemical warheads at Israel, thousands would have suffered. The USA used the UN to peacefully remove all Iraq's chemical weapons. Once all WMDs were removed by 1995, our war machine led by Bush insisted that tons remained, despite negative inspections by UN teams on the ground, and the invasion proceeded.
Syrian leader Assad may have taken the bait. If the USA had invaded a few months ago, Syria may have unleashed chemical weapons at American forces and Israel. Once Syria's chemical stockpile is gone, the invasion can proceed. As with Iraq, the American President can claim that Syria hasn't eliminated all chemical weapons as promised, and demand that Syria prove a negative -- "prove" that none remain. Eliminating chemical weapons will not protect Syria from an American invasion, but may encourage one.
Oct 12, 2013 - News Myths
It is difficult to understand the world when our corporate media creates mythical creatures. For example, there is no such thing as a "Tea Party" as this article explains. As I've written in the past, al Qaeda does not exist. It is an invention of the CIA and Pentagon to create an enemy by pretending that hundreds of tiny groups of Muslim nationalists are controlled by an evil mastermind. Former CIA officer Michael Scheuer provides a great summary in this video and explains America's dominate role in the Middle East.
Oct 7, 2013 - Illegal Immigration Spin
Here is what I wrote about mass illegal immigration back in 2006:
"The corporate media in the USA is extremely powerful and dumbs down all Americans. They want cheap labor pouring across US borders to drive down wages, so they invent simple phrases to confuse Americans. "We are a nation of immigrants" is a meaningless phrase used to end rational discussion about what is best for the American people. England and Mexico are also nations of immigrants. In fact, most scientists agree that man originated from a spot in Africa, so every nation on Earth is a nation of immigrants and everyone's ancestors were immigrants. Even the misnamed "native Americans" came from Asia.
US citizens are not demanding new immigration laws, they just want the federal government to enforce existing laws. If the nation needs more immigrants, quotas can rise and those selected screened for diseases, criminal records, and motives. People who break the law by entering the US illegally, then break more laws by working illegally using false identification, do not qualify as potential good citizens. To keep the gates for cheap labor open, corporate television along with corporate sponsored politicians have used irrational slogans to convince many Americans that putting US troops on the border is unconstitutional, illegal, impractical, dangerous, and futile."
All that remains true today. I've noticed that it has become dogma amongst some spineless "liberals" to repeat racist phrases when our working class objects. Some will say only "native Americans" can object, because they don't know what the word native means. Everyone who was born and grew up in the USA is a native American, which is why the odd term "indigenous" was adopted by some, but is too difficult to pronounce and spell by most. And if you point out that American Indians immigrated from Asia, these "native American" advocates become angry. They become irate if you tell them of DNA evidence that proves Europeans were in North America before these Asian immigrants arrived.
The bigger picture is that very, very few of these illegal immigrants had ancestors who once lived in the USA. I would favor a law that grants citizenship to any illegal who can prove their ancestors were native Americans (using the correct English meaning). This law would be opposed by corporate America (and their "liberal" lackeys) because they know that 99.999% of illegals have no ancestral ties to the USA. When cornered by logic, they fall back on calling opponents racist or a newer slur "xenophobic" for anyone expressing concern about falling wages, the unemployed, and the financial costs of continuing to absorb millions of destitute economic refugees each year.
A large majority of Americans are not fooled and oppose a second amnesty, despite a massive propaganda campaign by corporate America, openly led by the powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce, leaders of both political parties, President Obama, and former President Bush. So far, America's weak democracy has prevailed since public opposition is overwhelming opposed, and most members of the U.S. House of Representatives will attest.
Oct 5, 2013 - Cops Gun Down Mentally Ill Lady
We all heard about someone trying to ram the gates at the White House with shots fired, and saw pictures of a banged up police car. Video of the incident shows a car stopped at an entrance (nothing rammed), which drove off and cops opened fire as she was driving away. Obama wasn't home and they saw inside that it was just one lady, so trigger happy cops is a better term for this shooting. If you look at the other video, you see the banged up cop car was the result of a reckless speeding cop endangering lives. Note that it was removed from youtube, but reposted from a mirror site.
We never got the story of how the unarmed lady with the baby was later gunned down. I don't want to play armchair quarterback, but it's clear that our corporate media followed the government's spin and refused to air the video of the cop zooming at high speed and hitting a barrier. Fox News provides an excellent example of corporate propaganda. They call the cops heroes and show that same video, not the first part that makes cops look bad. They also show the banged up cop car to imply the crazed lady was responsible. All the shots and ramming came from the police!
Oct 4, 2013 - Paul Craig Roberts is Brilliant
I have read his articles for years, but I only recently discovered his website where he interprets the news. His Oct 2nd article notes:
the shutdown persists and becomes a problem, Obama has enough power under the
various “war on terror” rulings to declare a national emergency and raise
the debt ceiling by executive order. An executive branch that has the power to
inter citizens indefinitely and to murder them without due process of law, can
certainly set aside a ceiling on debt that jeopardizes the government.
And his article before that explains Obamacare:
"When Republicans for ideological reasons blocked a single-payer health system like the rest of the developed world has and, indeed, even some developing countries have, the Obama regime, needing a victory, went to the insurance companies and told them to come up with a health care plan that the insurance lobby could get passed by Congress. Obamacare was written by the private insurance industry with the goal of raising its profits with 50 million mandated new customers."
I think this partial government shutdown may be a ruse. Most federal workers were furloughed for around ten days last year as agencies struggled to meet mandated budget cuts, known as sequestration. That was chaotic and unpopular, and political leaders promised no furloughs this year, so cuts must come from federal contracts, including those for powerful weapon's builders.
The fiscal year began Oct 1st and half of federal workers were sent home without pay, and it's no ones fault! So Congressmen and their contractor buddies kick back and let the payroll savings accrue for 2-3 weeks to cover required sequester cuts and then pass the budget. This may not be an organized conspiracy, but lots of Congressmen, Generals, CEOs, and senior people in Washington D.C. (who are still getting paid) see this mass furlough as the solution to their FY2014 budget problems.
Oct 3, 2013 - CNN Reports!
You may have heard wild conspiracy theories that a commercial airliner did not hit the Pentagon on 9-11. Yes, it's true that the place hit was the only part of the Pentagon unoccupied that day as it was undergoing renovation. Yes, it's true that no large airplane parts, bodies, luggage, or seats were found. The small debris was immediately removed by hand from the scene before FAA accident investigators arrived. Yes, it's true that none of the dozens of security cameras in and around the Pentagon recorded an incoming airplane, although a fuzzy clip one second clip was eventually released. And yes, it's true that a CNN reporter on the scene reported that no airplane hit the Pentagon. Ignore all these facts, lest you suffer ridicule.
Oct 1, 2013 - Real Old-School Reporters Report
Robert Fisk is the most knowledgeable and experienced western journalist in the Middle East. He reports things that our American media refuses to print. For example, evidence that sarin gas used in Syria may have come from Libya. Another famous reporter, Seymour Hersh, recently commented on the death of Osama bin Laden: "Nothing's been done about that story, it's one big lie, not one word of it is true." Hersh included a chapter in his forthcoming book about this lie, and said of American political leaders and our media: "The republic's in trouble, we lie about everything, lying has become the staple."
Sep 29, 2013 - 80,000 Somalis in Minnesota?
While our media provided extensive coverage of the terror attack in Kenya, the big news was barely mentioned. How did we end up with 80,000 Somalis living in Minnesota? I doubt they entered illegally from East Africa, or they are high-skilled college grads with special visas. I'm sure many are hard working, doing jobs unemployed U.S. citizens would like. Don't say they are no threat since several traveled all the way back home to conduct a senseless terror attack. We are lucky some haven't decided to shoot up a mall in the USA. Will there be a congressional investigation, or even a negative comment?
Sep 28, 2013 - The Sailor Show?
Given that each U.S. serviceman costs taxpayers $140,000 a year when benefits and base support costs are included, you might think our sequestered military has cut costs. I stumbled upon this video of the U.S. Navy Drill Team in Norway. Think of these rifle twirlers the next time you read our admirals want to retire more ships early due to manpower costs. Note the credits; they have a full-time civilian choreographer traveling the world with them.
Sep 23, 2013 - Let's Bomb Some Arabs!
The recent threat to bomb Syria because of WMD accusations was heavily covered by our corporate news media. Yet no one mentioned that idea is a copy of Operation Desert Fox. It had been well documented that Iraq destroyed all of its WMDs by 1995, and the U.S. government knew that fact. The American war machine needed a villain and Saddam Hussein was the best choice at that time.
The Clinton administration had been openly shipping weapons to Iraqi rebel groups. In 1998, false accusations about Iraqi WMDs were used to justify a four-day aerial attack to "punish" the Iraqi regime, called Operation Desert Fox. Dozens of innocent Iraqis were killed. No Americans died and the Pentagon hailed the senseless attack a success. Nevertheless, pressure will build for President Obama to repeat the same pointless slaughter in Syria.
Sep 21, 2013 - The Fake Osama Raid
G2mil readers may have felt uncomfortable reading my May 7, 2011 blog about why the raid to kill Osama Bin Laden was fake. I just learned that the BBC did a report that concludes the same thing. You may disagree, but there is no doubt that major American media refused to mention the BBC report. At the same link there is an interview with former Pakistani premier Benazir Bhutto, who stated that OBL was killed in 2007, which was later edited out by the BBC, and Bhutto assassinated shortly after that interview.
Sep 20, 2013 - A Deceptive American Army
I congratulate the U.S. Army for allowing the publication of an article by three Army Lieutenant Colonels: The Myths We Soldiers Tell Ourselves. It explains how the Army (and our entire military) is corrupted by self-deception and the resultant culture of continual lies.
Sep 19, 2013 - The USA is Still Under Martial Law
From the White House:
For Immediate Release
September 18, 2013
TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:
Section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)) provides for the automatic termination of a national emergency unless, within 90 days prior to the anniversary date of its declaration, the President publishes in the Federal Register and transmits to the Congress a notice stating that the emergency is to continue in effect beyond the anniversary date. In accordance with this provision, I have sent to the Federal Register for publication the enclosed notice stating that the national emergency with respect to persons who commit, threaten to commit, or support terrorism declared in Executive Order 13224 of September 23, 2001, is to continue in effect beyond September 23, 2013.
The crisis constituted by the grave acts of terrorism and threats of terrorism committed by foreign terrorists, including the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, in New York and Pennsylvania and against the Pentagon, and the continuing and immediate threat of further attacks on United States nationals or the United States that led to the declaration of a national emergency on September 23, 2001, has not been resolved. These actions continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States. For this reason, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13224 with respect to persons who commit, threaten to commit, or support terrorism.
Perpetual War? This statement is publicly released each year, yet not a mention in the corporate press, nor an objection the Halls of Congress. What does this really mean? And if it's not important, why does the President renew it each year?
Sep 18, 2013 - More "Ambushes" From the Vietnam War
I've noticed that whenever an advancing or patrolling American military force encounters an enemy that inflicts causalities, we are told they were "ambushed" to imply the enemy unfairly surprised invincible Americans. I will soon add these six to my popular list of "Lost Battles of the Vietnam War."
Battle of Ap Bac - In January 1963, American advisors launched a battle after they pressured reluctant South Vietnamese officers to use American air mobility assets to destroy the Viet Cong. The attack was a disaster in which the VC mauled a far larger force while shooting down five American helicopters (pictured) and damaging eight, while killing three Americans and wounding eight.
Operation Hickory - In May 1967, U.S. marines were ordered to cross into the DMZ and destroy the NVA. Several days of frontal assaults killed lots of NVA lodged in fortifications, but also killed 142 Marines and wounded 896 until the marines withdrew after ten days of pointless attacks.
Overrun in Happy Valley - During the first two weeks of 1968, 69 soldiers from the 196th Infantry Brigade died in heavy fighting in the Hiep Duc Valley, Quang Tin Province. On January 9-10, Alpha and Delta companies from its 3/21 Infantry battalion were overrun. The Delta company commander and 27 men were killed. Dozens were wounded and eight Americans taken prisoner as survivors held out in small groups overnight until rescued the following day.
Operation Delaware - In this April 1968 offensive, the U.S. Army learned that mountain jungles allow concealed anti-aircraft weapons to easily shoot down low-flying aircraft. Units of the 1st Cavalry Division helicoptered into rugged terrain and killed hundreds of NVA as they withdrew to Laos. However, the NVA shot down a C-130 transport, two fighter-bombers, eight large helicopters, nearly two dozen UH-1 helicopters, and seriously damaged three dozen other helicopters, whose crashes left 47 Americans MIA. The NVA also killed 142 Americans, wounded 731, and returned to the area as the 1st Cav withdrew after three weeks of fighting.
Operation Houston II - In May 1968, as Mike company from the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines moved up a ridge called Hill 1192, they wandered into an NVA base camp and were shot to pieces with 14 killed and dozens wounded. Three helicopters were shot down attempting to rescue wounded Marines. The surviving marines remained pinned down and bleeding for several days until rescued by another company.
LZ East Overrun - On June 11, 1969, the NVA overran a small base called LZ East, killing 17 soldiers of the 169th Infantry Brigade and wounding 34.
To quiet those who insist wins should be measured by body counts, I added this a few weeks ago: "If attrition losses are important, the USA lost over 3600 fixed-wing aircraft in Vietnam, while the North Vietnamese lost only around 200, so who won the air war?"
Sep 15, 2013 - Immigration Reform Racket
Someone finally published an article exposing the conspiracy called "immigration reform." Despite record unemployment (percentage of the labor force employed), a Senate bill will increase the annual quota for H1B worker visas from 85,000 to 200,000. This are supposed to be "high skill" workers but this is not enforced. Over the next decade, this could result in two million more desperate foreign workers legally arriving to take jobs from Americans. The bill will also provide limitless visas for masters and doctoral students to take jobs in the USA. All this despite high unemployment and numerous stories of American workers laid off and replaced by H1B visa workers. For example, in my June 12, 2012 blog I noted:
"Hewlett-Packard is one of America's high-tech employers and is making big profits, but just announced that it will layoff 27,000 workers in California to "streamline" and boost profits. There is no doubt that some of these workers will be replaced by H-1B immigrants, and HP wants a bigger quota for more."
Our nation no longer has investigative reporters, just stenographers who type corporate PR releases into teleprompters for news anchors to read. A real reporter would find out how many foreigners are working in the USA for Hewlett-Packard, and if they have imported more low-cost H1B foreigner workers to replace Americans.
Sep 14, 2013 - Common Sense?
I had to laugh when the Obama administration shifted its argument to attack Syria from irrefutable evidence that Assad used chemical weapons, to "a common sense test." Since Assad was winning the civil war and Obama had announced that he would only intervene if a red line was crossed, common sense is that Assad would never use chemical weapons. Common sense is that his opponents would use chemicals and blame Assad.
What about common sense with Obama's proposed military strike, to avenge the deaths of innocent Syrians? These attacks may not kill anyone who allegedly employed chemical weapons. Those killed would be lowly security guards, technicians, gardeners, janitors, and even women and children killed by malfunctioning smart bombs (10% malfunction and land miles off target). Killing innocents to avenge dead innocents is not common sense.
Finally, the Obama administration announced that it would not target Syria's chemical weapons for airstrikes because that would release chemicals and may kill thousands. So common sense is that airstrikes will not solve the problem, Therefore, the only common sense reason the USA may strike is that madmen are in charge of our nation, as described by Paul Craig Roberts in my last blog.
While President Obama really screwed this up, he did show courage to back up when he realized his mistake. There is now an interesting political battle between the Commander-in-Chief and the secretive "powers that be" who run this nation behind the scenes through the National Security Council, with con men like John Kerry.
Sep 11, 2013 - Roberts' Truth
A great thing about an Internet blog is that I don't have to write everything. I can just link great stuff. One of the best political observers in the world is Paul Craig Roberts, who posts brilliant articles that clear away the propaganda that infects our media and culture. His latest is great: Too Many Years of Lies
Sep 9, 2013 - Three New V-22 Mishaps
There were three V-22 mishaps this summer that destroyed each aircraft yet escaped public notice. I added them to my list. The one in Afghanistan was not reported to the Navy Safety Center as required. According a comment on that linked page, it was disassembled, and may have disappeared from Earth like other damaged V-22s. Now the Marine who posted the picture is in trouble for exposing this crime, because it is "classified."
Other comments confirm that problems remain, like constant hydraulic leaks. I also found this video of a V-22 drifting off the side of the ship when it could not lift off.
Sep 8, 2013 - Syria Censorship
Most Americans oppose attacking Syria. All would be if they had the facts. If our media reported on what this lady said, and this guy, all Americans would be outraged. Fortunately, independent analysis has appeared that shreds Obama's evidence, and even Reuters published an article expressing doubts about secret evidence that chemical weapons were used by the Syrian government.
Other facts ignored:
1. Assad was studying to become an eye doctor in London before his dad died in 2000, but that fact conflicts with his new image as a villain.
2. NATO activated a new command complex in Turkey in November 2012 as the CIA began increasing weapons shipments to Syria, mostly from newly conquered Libya. The USA deployed thousands of troops and fighter planes to Jordan and Turkey weeks BEFORE Assad was accused of using chemical weapons.
3. The USA is not "the only nation capable of intervening in Syria." Turkey has one of the most powerful armies in the world. Turkey is far more capable of intervening in Syria than the USA since its forces are positioned along its border.
4. France is the only ally in support because Syria was a French colony until after World War II. In recent years, France began to regain control of its former colonies in Africa, and now has an eye on Syria. France conquered Syria in 1920, and wants to return for a centennial celebration.
5. Assad invited UN chemical weapons' inspectors to Syria BEFORE this chemical attack to investigate reports that someone was using chemical weapons. When they tried to investigate one report, rebels opened fire on their UN marked vehicles.
6. As this blog has documented, the Pentagon refused to announce any serious plan to cut back in the two years since small budget reductions were enacted in 2011. (see the Aug 30 blog entry for an example) Now Generals are saying Congress must reverse those cuts as we go to war with Syria.
The Pentagon loves war spending because it comes out of a semi-secret bottomless account that is not part of their regular budget. For example, once a single bomb is dropped, all the routine fuel costs in Europe and the Middle East will be charged to "the war." And you know the logic. After the airstrikes fail to topple Assad, then we must send ground forces since we are responsible for increasing the death toll and Assad might use chemical weapons against us since we tried to kill him. We may soon have OSL vets - (Operation Syria Liberation).
What is not discussed is how Syria may respond. It can fire hundreds of rockets and artillery shells into Israel. This should invite counterattacks. How will Syrians and other Arabs, including the "rebels", react? I'm enjoying the political dilemma for most Republican congressmen. Most of their voters oppose war with Syria and losing a congressional vote will prove embarrassing for President Obama. However, they love bombing A-rabs, their military industry lobbyist friends always support more war, and AIPAC demands obedience to their agenda of destroying Arab nations.
Sep 6, 2013 - Overt Corruption in D.C.
Sep 5, 2013 - From the Dec 2003 G2mil
Saddam never gassed his own people
A Stephen C. Pelletiere commentary appeared in the January 31, 2003 New York Times, yet no one seems to have noticed. Here is part of what he wrote about frequent statements that Saddam Hussein gassed 5000 Kurds at Halabja in 1988:
...as the Central Intelligence Agency's senior political analyst on Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, and as a professor at the Army War College from 1988 to 2000, I was privy to much of the classified material that flowed through Washington having to do with the Persian Gulf. In addition, I headed a 1991 Army investigation into how the Iraqis would fight a war against the United States; the classified version of the report went into great detail on the Halabja affair.
This much about the gassing at Halabja we undoubtedly know: it came about in the course of a battle between Iraqis and Iranians. Iraq used chemical weapons to try to kill Iranians who had seized the town, which is in northern Iraq not far from the Iranian border. The Kurdish civilians who died had the misfortune to be caught up in that exchange. But they were not Iraq's main target.
And the story gets murkier: immediately after the battle the United States Defense Intelligence Agency investigated and produced a classified report, which it circulated within the intelligence community on a need-to-know basis. That study asserted that it was Iranian gas that killed the Kurds, not Iraqi gas.
The agency did find that each side used gas against the other in the battle around Halabja. The condition of the dead Kurds' bodies, however, indicated they had been killed with a blood agent -- that is, a cyanide-based gas -- which Iran was known to use. The Iraqis, who are thought to have used mustard gas in the battle, are not known to have possessed blood agents at the time.
These facts have long been in the public domain but, extraordinarily, as often as the Halabja affair is cited, they are rarely mentioned. A much-discussed article in The New Yorker last March did not make reference to the Defense Intelligence Agency report or consider that Iranian gas might have killed the Kurds. On the rare occasions the report is brought up, there is usually speculation, with no proof, that it was skewed out of American political favoritism toward Iraq in its war against Iran.
I am not trying to rehabilitate the character of Saddam Hussein. He has much to answer for in the area of human rights abuses. But accusing him of gassing his own people at Halabja as an act of genocide is not correct, because as far as the information we have goes, all of the cases where gas was used involved battles. These were tragedies of war.
The Baathist regime did kill thousands of Kurds during fighting to suppress occasional uprisings by what Americans call gangs or terror groups. Iran, Turkey and Syria have also killed thousands of Kurds, and of course the USA has killed thousands of innocent Iraqis to maintain order, albeit unintentionally. A better example of a government leader using chemicals to "gas his own people" occurred in 1993 near Waco, Texas.
Sep 2, 2013 - Germans Uber Alles
Sep 1, 2013 - Rogue Superpower
Attacking Syria should erase all doubt that the USA has become a war machine monster. As our military withdrew from Iraq it shifted forces to Afghanistan. As it draws down there, a new enemy has arose. This war campaign plan was announced several years ago in public by retired General Wesley Clark.
Syria has possessed chemical weapons for decades with no problems. Recall it sent troops to support the allies during the first Gulf War. The USA and its Arab puppet dictators have been pumping billions of dollars into "rebel" groups in Syria to allow them to conduct hundreds of terror attacks. They have not succeeded in toppling the government, so Obama declared that if Syria used chemical weapons, the USA would intervene. Syria had used none, and had no plans to use any. I noted in my May 12 blog that chemical weapons are for huge area targets and impractical for urban warfare since they are dangerous to transport, require troops to wear gas masks and hot NBC suits, weather can blow them back on the users, and they contaminate areas for years.
Once Obama drew his "red line" it was obvious that those forces supporting the rebels had acquired gas and were ready to use it on civilians. It is obvious to every thinking person that Syria would never use chemical weapons to justify American intervention, and its opponents should be blamed if anything is used. However, America's corporate media refuses to express any doubt about the President's recent "proof." No one laughs when NSA intercepts are used as proof, after the recent scandal in which the NSA was caught lying to everyone about everything it does. And no one in the corporate media mentions that a massive American attack would kill hundreds more innocents, maybe thousands if Syrian chemical weapons are exploded, and that it would not rid Syria of chemical weapons.
Recall my Oct 21 blog about how "60 Minutes" aired a classic propaganda segment about the need to attack Syria. If anyone still doubts that our major media is controlled by a war machine, read this overview of its "reporting" whatever the White House announces with no hint of doubt. The only firm evidence would be Syria announcing that it was foolishly using such chemicals.
The good news is that polls show only 9% of Americans support an illegal attack on Syria. Attacking Syria will be further proof that we don't have a democracy anymore. Obama is smart guy, but often acts as though someone is holding a gun to his head. He is now allied with crazy man Senator John McCain, who has argued (at different times) that we should attack both sides in the conflict. The last minute demand for a Congressional vote is odd. Perhaps Obama dared the gunman. Perhaps he wants critics to have their view on the record. Or perhaps the war machine wants to demonstrate the power of the imperial presidency by openly defying the Congress.
Aug 31, 2013 - Become an Undertaker
I now understand why Americans use the French word "entrepreneur" in a positive way. The official English term is undertaker. Here is the dictionary:
Definition of UNDERTAKER
1. one that undertakes: one that takes the risk and management of business: entrepreneur
2. one whose business is to prepare the dead for burial and to arrange and manage funerals
Since most startups fail, undertaker is an accurate word.
Aug 30, 2013 - What Drawdown?
As Generals and Admirals whine about drastic post-war cuts, the stats show otherwise. Since this fiscal year began Oct 1st, our military has "hired" over 136,000 new GIs.
WASHINGTON, Aug. 29, 2013 – All four active services met or exceeded their numerical accession goals for fiscal year 2013 through July, Pentagon officials reported today.
Here are the numbers for each service:
-- Army: 56,437 accessions, 101 percent of its goal of 55,760;
-- Navy: 32,692 accessions, 100 percent of its goal of 32,692;
-- Marine Corps: 24,785 accessions, 100 percent of its goal of 24,743; and
-- Air Force: 21,969 accessions, 100 percent of its goal of 21,969.
And during this same time period, the overall DoD active force structure has been reduced by just 20,000 GIs!
Aug 24, 2013 - Viooz
I rarely comment on entertainment websites, but this one has most of the films on my list of best war movies. I found Viooz.co while surfing for a movie, which is free and has far more movies than paid websites like Netflix. I googled it and found little info except that it's new and based overseas, so maybe it offers movies without permission from the studios. It even has new movies now being shown in movie theaters!
When you surf for movies at Viooz, there is an annoying pop-up with each click. And it wants you to download a better HD player or to update or download a missing plugin. I fear that will also download a toolbar or unwanted adverts, so I just ignore those, as well as the download button. I never registered, but just click a movie I want to see, and it plays with no problems, as I click off all the accumulated pop-ups from my surfing.
Aug 25, 2013 - Retreat from Khe Sahn?
G2mil's most visited webpage is Lost Battles of the Vietnam War. Here is a recent reader comment:
Carlton, I am a combat veteran who was at FSB Ripcord and the AO around it for 2 & 1/2 months. Your assessment of what happened was far too kind. We were vastly outnumbered and out maneuvered. After a 23 day siege of the base itself we abandoned it. This was the last major American military offensive of the war and it was obvious to those of us on the ground that even after 8 years of fighting command never did learn to change their strategies.
Sadly the mind set is still seen in the command structures today. Nice compilation of lost battles although I doubt you will get much agreement from other vets. Its difficult to admit our failures ("we lost the war but never lost a battle," favorite line of vets I know) but it can bring some measure of peace and closure when we finally do. Just a bit difficult to face. Thanks for your work.
Actually, most combat vets like the list. Few Americans understand that it was a serious war up north, not just walking in the sun to find a few VC. I even had a Marine officer who was at Khe Sahn insisting that I should include that mess as a loss, since the Marines pulled out under fire.
Aug 22, 2013 - Killing the News, and Newsmen
A follow-up to my June 24th blog about the assassination of reporter Michael Hastings in Los Angeles. The county coroner told his wife that it could not release his body for an independent autopsy and burial because they had cremated it without permission. A local San Diego news station reported that Hastings was working on a story about a secret CIA program to harass and discredit "hostile" newsmen. All other American "news" outlets refused to publish this very interesting story, out of fear for their lives.
Aug 20, 2013 - Looting Iraq
A favorite method of looting Middle East allies is by selling them expensive weapons they don't need. For example, Iraq will buy $2.4 billion in American weapons. You might assume they will snap up hundreds of new "excess" MRAP vehicles from the USA that are good for counter-insurgency and riot control. No, they will buy:
The transaction in question promises to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in sales for each of principal contractors: Boeing (NYSE: BA ) , Kratos Defense & Security (NASDAQ: KTOS ) , Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT ) , Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC ) , Raytheon (NYSE: RTN ) , privately held American General, and France's Thales, and involves the sale of:
And much, much more.
Collectively characterized as "an Integrated Air Defense System," the equipment in question is described as necessary to "help the Government of Iraq to modernize its armed forces ... provide the Iraqi Air Defense Command situational awareness of the country's airspace and a baseline tactical radar and threat intercept capability ... and reduce its vulnerability to air attacks and also enhance interoperability between the Government of Iraq, the U.S., and other allies."
The DSCA assures Congress that "there will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale."
Since these systems can only be useful to shoot down American and Israeli aircraft, I assume they will have a software bug that allows the USA to shut them down remotely.
Aug 17, 2013 - U.S. Army Trained New Egyptian Dictator
Our corporate media has failed to report the basic event in Egypt. The Egyptian Army conducted a coup to overthrow its democratically elected government. And, no media mentions that the coup leader, Egyptian Army General Abd Al Fattah Al Sise, is now Egypt's new dictator. There is discussion if the USA should continue to provide $1.3 billion a year in military aid to Egypt, but no discussion as to why we've done so for decades.
Note that Al Sise is a graduate of the U.S. Army's Officer Infantry Course and returned later to attend the U.S. Army's War college. One reason the USA provides paid training for foreign officers is because our CIA spend months recruiting them while they are here. They are invited on fun trips, offered expensive gifts, and ideally recruited as CIA operatives.
Aug 16, 2013 - Saving Baumholder
One of G2mil's top candidates for overseas base closure is the mostly empty U.S. Army base at Baumholder, Germany. Amongst news of "drastic" budget cuts and major downsizing, Army Generals are quietly spending millions of dollars to rebuild this unneeded base and developing plans to move units there to justify its existence.
Aug 15, 2013 - Trail of Evidence?
You may have read a news story of how IRS agents are taught to "recreate the investigative trail" to cover up leads provided illegally by the NSA. This has been standard practice by most federal agents for two decades. They don't bother with search warrants while digging into cases. If they find something, they tweak their official reports showing the source was legal. For example, if they learn drugs are being moved via an illegal wiretap, they ask a local policeman to find a reason to stop the vehicle and he "finds" the drugs.
Aug 14, 2013 - Cash Bribe for an American General
I often rant against corruption in the U.S. military, but it has become blatant. An Army three-star General accepted a $3000 cash bribe from a Korean businessman! He was demoted and quietly retired. After a FOIA request publicized the story, the Army explained the bribe as a "cash equivalent gift" to a "family member." General Joseph F. Fil told investigators that he accepted the gifts in “good conscience,” believing that they were legal because the giver was a longtime personal friend. Investigators cast doubt on that explanation by noting the South Korean did not speak English and that Fil had to communicate with him by “using hand and arm signals.”
I doubt that Fil was the first Army General to accept "gifts" in Korea over the years, and these revelations are probably only a small part of what goes on. A letter at the bottom of that article provides a clue:
"...the KCIA and the ROK military have an intelligence office in each Joint/Combined headquarters keeping tabs on all field grade/general officers in that headquarters and their closest Korean associates turn in reports monthly on any and all activities of said American officers which can be used for or against said officers to the benefit of the Korean government and military."
This helps explain why Army Generals have wasted billions of dollars in South Korea as they consolidate facilities to "save money."
Aug 10, 2013 - Invisible On-line?
I just saw another advertisement by a company that offers to make you invisible on-line. You pay them a small monthly fee and all your internet traffic is routed through their servers. This type of business has been offered for several years, but note that one outfit was uncovered as a CIA front company. What a great idea! Offer possible criminals and terrorists the chance to route their traffic through a CIA monitored server, and charge them for it! Of course the CIA is not legally allowed to spy on Americans in the USA, but no one in D.C. cares anymore.
Aug 9, 2013 - The COP Keating Disaster
A recent article about COP Keating notes a medal of honor was awarded to another of its defenders. It includes a picture of the base that competent military men find appalling. This remote base in Afghanistan was attacked and almost overrun because it was located at the bottom of a valley with steep terrain all around! The incompetence is staggering, although it was being closed when attacked because Army officers had finally admitted it was in a bad spot.
Aug 4, 2013 - The Hobgoblins are Coming!
The NSA is in trouble for massive lawbreaking and lying to Congress. It might be investigated by Congress and its budget cut. Some Congressmen have called for Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to resign. The Pentagon is upset that it might have to actually cut its budget, rather than pretending it has. What to do?
Direct propaganda outlets like ABC News to report: "the identification of a significant threat from an al-Qaeda affiliate, a senior U.S. official is providing new details about the communications intercepted from the terrorists, telling ABC News that al-Qaeda operatives could be heard talking about an upcoming attack. The official described the terrorists as saying the planned attack is “going to be big” and “strategically significant.”
If this were true, why isn't anyone concerned about this leak of classified information? Once it became top news, these terrorists would obviously postpone their attack. An intercept about an attack is meaningless with no clue as to the target. This not surprising since Arab nationalists (called al-Qaeda terrorists in the USA) are always planning a big attack against imperial occupiers. Nevertheless, the NSA will credit itself for thwarting a major terror attack, and note this was possible because of massive worldwide surveillance.
This strategy is based on H. L. Mencken's revelation many decades ago when he wrote: "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
Issue a worldwide terror alert! Close embassies on Sunday! The enemy is attacking! So shut up and thank the NSA for protecting you!
Aug 3, 2013 - Real Military Cuts
Secretary of Defense Hagel is finally discussing potential cuts in public. Although they are just a 7% cut from 2012 spending levels, force structure must be slashed much more to afford ever increasing procurement and military personnel costs. Breaking Defense is a website that provides interesting information, albeit with limited insight. They crafted this nice chart of options. The first four are from military contractor funded "think tanks", while the SCMR options are from Hagel. I agree with the common theme; cut three carriers and 100,000 more ground troops. There nothing about nukes. I'd scrap the land-based ICBMs.
Jul 28, 2013 - Thanks for Paying for My "Service"
In this brilliant article : "A Jeffersonian Military Man", a retired Marine Corps major exposes the truth about military service. He thanks taxpayers for providing him with a lucrative and interesting career, yet regrets his participation in a killing machine.
Jul 22, 2013 - Pencil Whipping F-35 Problems
The new F-35 fighter-attack aircraft has been criticized for its high operating costs. Its Cost Per Flight Hour (CPFH) is much higher than the aircraft it will replace. A recent "Aviation Week" article quotes the senior Marine Corps aviator on efforts to reduce that cost:
"Advances in simulator technology have allowed the equipment to evolve from being a tool used to train standard procedures for pilots to support advanced tactics training, because the software is more realistic. Ultimately, 52% of the training syllabus for the F-35B will be handled in the simulator, also reducing the CPFH for the aircraft, Schmidle says."
Unless he misspoke, LtGen Schmidle revealed that they add cost free F-35 simulator hours with actual flight hours when calculating the CPFH. Most people find that dishonest, and indicates the true CPFH is much higher than reported.
Jul 20, 2013 - Big Sequester Spending
As we read about "drastic" military cuts, keep in mind that they are only a 7% roll back from a record spending level in 2012, back to the 2007 budget level. Despite news of hardships, the Pentagon just awarded KBR a $134 million contract to continue building a new base in Romania, even though the Obama administration recently cancelled "Phase IV" of that plan since it is not technically possible. The small SM-3 missiles to be based there haven't even half the range to shoot down missiles fired from the Middle East. Of course no nation would fire any at Europe and none have missiles with that range anyway. Nevertheless, contractor KBR has made billions of dollars operating new overseas American military bases, and spreads those profits around Washington D.C., so its business is protected from cuts.
Meanwhile, most federal workers are enduring a 20% pay cut for three months since they are rated less important. Yet the U.S. Air Force just announced that it has enough money for its Thunderbirds demonstration fighter squadron to start training for their 2014 tour. Each F-16 costs over $20,000 an hour to operate. Imagine what workers at Nellis AFB think as they struggle to pay bills and watch colorful F-16s roar off the nearby runway, while people wait in lines at the base hospital and for other base services. All the armed services are playing this game. For example, the Navy just awarded $900 million in new "cyber" contracts for vague purposes.
Jul 13, 2013 - Army Fat Untouched
You may have read that our Army is downsizing as it shrinks the active-duty force from a post 9-11 wartime high of 570,000 to 490,000 by 2017. In June 2013, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said the Army will cut 10 brigade combat teams and reorganize the rest, which implies a serious cut. But the details show that only 10 brigade headquarters will be eliminated, while their subordinate units will be reassigned to increase the combat power of the remaining 33 brigades. Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. John Campbell noted the cuts will result in the loss of only 17,700 positions. The recent inactivation of the two brigades and several smaller enabler units in Europe represent a reduction of another 11,700 slots.
General Campbell added: “The BCT [brigade] reduction is just one small part” of the 80,000-troop reduction in end strength. The 11,700 cut from Europe and 17,700 from 10 brigade headquarters total only 29,400 soldier slots out of 80,000 needed! Where is the serious plan to cut another 50,000 soldiers by 2017? Unless the Army closes bases or eliminates large headquarters, it will have to cut 11 full brigades. In 2018, Generals will have to explain why an Army with 490,000 active duty soldiers can only field 22 combat maneuver brigades totaling 88,000 soldiers.
Instead of cutting combat brigades, the Army could cut the equivalent of 20,000 slots (half civilian) by closing excess bases and excess headquarters in Germany. Eliminating outdated overhead in Korea (the 8th Army command and Daegu camps ) while leaving the combat units of the 2nd Infantry division would allow another 8000 non-combat soldier slots to be eliminated, along with some 6000 civilian positions. Cutting this fat would solve most of the Army's downsizing needs, and result in no economic losses to American communities.
While researching this issue, I discovered that U.S. Army Generals are plotting to reverse a decade old plan to consolidate bases in South Korea, and wrote a detailed article about the billions of dollars being wasted there: Withdraw From DMZ Bases.
Jul 11, 2013 - Watergate in Dallas?
There are certain stories that our big corporate news editors refuse to allow in print or on the air. For example, this story about a break in at a law firm. You'd think Fox News would do a dozen follow-up stories.
Jul 8, 2013 - Where's the Damn Video?
As the story about the crash landing of an Asiana (Korean) 777 jet at San Francisco unfolded, I kept waiting for the video. There must be over a hundred security cameras around that airport, recording everything in a reusable loop. Did no one ever think to point one camera at the runway in case there was an accident? Shouldn't some cameras be watching the runways anyway to watch for intruding animals, teenagers or terrorists who might cause an accident?
Another issue is no one in our media commented on the use of lightweight composite (plastic) skin on new aircraft, in place of traditional aluminum. Composite skin burns and produces toxic smoke, which you can see from the photos. Luckily, this aircraft was landing with little fuel left.
Jul 5, 2013 - Standing Army
I just watched a good 2010 documentary on Hulu "Standing Army." It offers insight and great video of the cost of our overseas bases, focusing on local opposition. It makes no attempt to offer a balanced report, but offers information not seen in our corporate controlled media.
Jul 4, 2013 - Harassing Combat Vets
Fourth of July fireworks are an American tradition. The Declaration of Independence includes complaints about a large standing army. So on this day, Americans explode fireworks to upset our combat vets.
Jul 1, 2013 - Mighty Nigeria
Most Americans fail to keep up with geography after they finish schooling. Did you know that Bangladesh now has more people than Japan? By 2040, India will have more people than China, the Philippines more than Russia, and Nigeria will have more souls than the USA! All this assumes no catastrophic wars and famine, which is nature's way of dealing with overpopulation.
Carlton Meyer editorG2mil@Gmail.com
2013 Blog - First Half
2012 Blog - The Empire in Turmoil
2011 Blog - The Empire Retreats
2010 Blog - The Empire Crumbles
2009 Blog - The Bankrupt Empire
2008 Blog - The End of the Empire
2000-2008 - Monthly Editorials